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BBS: The Documentary Archive

Jason Scott (TEXTFILES.COM)

The BBS Documentary Video Collection is a varied set of video items collected by Jason Scott, curator of TEXTFILES.COM. These are recordings about and from the era of the domination of ASCII and Dial-up Bulletin Board Systems (roughly the 1970s through the 1990s, with examples far before and after that).

Over 250 hours of interviews were conducted for a project called "BBS: The Documentary" (website at bbsdocumentary.com). The questions centered around the history of Dial-up BBSes but sometimes drifted into related topics. Most of the full interviews will be made available on this site over the course of a year.

In each case, an audio file of the interviews will also be made available along with the videotaped material, as well as photographs taken during the interview. All material will be released Creative Commons Attribute-Sharealike and you are encouraged to download, re-edit, share, and otherwise use this material as the foundation for further research.

Click to view the Archive's related Textfiles audio collection.


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BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 32,770
favorite 8
comment 1
Interview with John Sheetz for BBS: The Documentary. Conducted on March 22nd, 2003 in New Providence, New Jersey. Discussions center around teletype art and the use of Ham Radio to transfer text-based images. Techniques in creating RTTY art, the process of transferring artwork over Ham Radio, and some occasional copyright issues are all covered. Speculations on the future of the art, as well as what other skills Mr. Sheetz picked up in the medium. Sadly, Mr. Sheetz passed away in January of...
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Topics: bbs, documentary, sheetz
BBS: The Documentary Archive
movies
eye 7,570
favorite 2
comment 0
Interview of Ken Kaplan, Ben Baker, and Ryugen Fisher (That Old Frog)in St. Louis Missouri, January of 2004. Hour 1 (of 3). Discussion of Fidonet politics, internal issues, triumphs of engineering, influence of Fidonet. Covers some parts of the ARC-ZIP battle, as well as why the various interviewees ultimately left the project. Shot in the same living room in which Fidonet's main implementation was created, at Ken Kaplan's house. The interview began with just Ken Kaplan and Ben Baker, and...
Topics: bbs, bbsdocumentary, interview, ryugen, fisher, ben, baker, ken, kaplan, fidonet
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 7,350
favorite 5
comment 1
Interview with Mark Nasstrom for BBS: The Documentary. Conducted on May 24th, 2003 in Seal Rock, Oregon. Discussions include running election results through BBSes, communication issues in sparsely populated areas, and Boardwatch magazine.
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Topics: bbs, documentary, nasstrom
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 6,919
favorite 6
comment 1
Interview with Minor Threat, conducted in Austin, Texas, on January 30th, 2004. Minor Threat is most known as the creator and co-author of Tone Loc, a "wardialer" program that would connect to thousands of phones looking for carriers, voices, and other surprises in a phone exchange. However, this interview mostly focuses on his memories of both PD (public domain) BBSes and hacking BBSes; a section in the middle focuses on Tone Loc and the challenges associated with the program. The...
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Topics: bbs, documentary, minor threat
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 6,074
favorite 1
comment 1
Interview with Philip J. Kaplan, "pud" of FUCKEDCOMPANY.COM, for BBS: The Documentary. Conducted on March 2nd, 2002 in New York City, NY. Questions center around running a BBS, pirate groups, modem costs, what makes a web forum or BBS worthwhile to post on, tips for inciting conversation, and speculations on the personality behind running a BBS. Contains profanity. The interview was conducted in a rehearsal space leased by Mr. Kaplan and his band, and so the sound is unusual in that...
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Topic: bbs documentary kaplan
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by eSoft, Inc.
movies
eye 6,022
favorite 5
comment 1
From the collection of Rev. Michael Chowning. This tape is an introduction the TBBS bulletin board software, hosted by Phil Becker and Alan D. Bryant. In this 43 minute tape, you are introduced to the basic ideas behind TBBS, usage of the software, setting up modems and menus, and other related tasks. Becker and Bryant demonstrate all the related concepts clearly and cleanly. Original format was VHS tape, and meant to be included with the 1993 releases of TBBS. Portions of the beginning of this...
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Topic: bbs,documentary,tbbs,esoft,bryant,becker
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 5,409
favorite 2
comment 1
Interview with Ebony Eyes, ANSI artist from the late 1980s, for the BBS Documentary. Conducted on April 26, 2004. The last interview conducted for the BBS Documentary, a few days after the end of Notacon. Conducted with the assistance of RaD Man of ACiD. Subjects covered included working in the ANSI art form, favorite programs for drawing, WWIVnet and politics involved in it, and perspectives on the later ANSI Art Scene of the 1990s.
( 1 reviews )
Topics: bbs, documentary, ebony eyes, ansi
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 4,329
favorite 3
comment 4
Interview with Tracer, artist for the ANSI art group ACiD. Conducted on March 8, 2004, in New York City, New York. Subjects discussed included ANSI art groups, switching groups based on opportunity, power structures of art groups, creating art in both ANSI and RIP graphics, and which artists Tracer found impressive. Post-BBS events are discussed as well. At the beginning of the interview, a heat pipe clanks occasionally during both questions and answers, and then calms down for the remaining...
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 4 reviews )
Topics: bbs, documentary, tracer
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 2,839
favorite 1
comment 0
Interview with Bruce Fancher, Dead Lord of Legion of Doom (LOD) and co-founder of the MindVox bulletin board and internet service provider, conducted on October 13, 2002 in New York City. Topics include TAP meetings, connecting to different bulletin boards, busts, the operations and internals of MindVox, hacker ethics and motivation, and opinions and thoughts about the mid 1990s explosion of interest in internet and politics. Some noise reduction is in place, and the interview was conducted...
Topics: bbs, bruce, fancher, documentary
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 2,561
favorite 2
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Interview with Milky Puppy and Liz, BBS users, in Toronto, Ontario on May 25, 2002. Subjects covered included early BBS use in Chicago and Toronto, various BBSes run by Milky and their unique themes, the YIP group, BBS Meets, co-sysop and sysop duties, Atari and Macintosh platforms, and points of pride or highlights from BBSes. This interview was conducted towards the beginning of the film cycle, when I had more of a "conversational" style to the interviews, meaning I am a notable...
Topics: bbs, documentary, milky
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 2,408
favorite 1
comment 0
Interview with b0b lee, maintainer of the Steel Guitar Forum (http://steelguitarforum.com) and creator of the b0badel BBS software package. Conducted in Cloverdale, California on May 31, 2003. I was woken that morning in a hotel in the middle of Cloverdale with the news of the birth of my cousin's daughter, Rhiannon Marie. Interview subjects include the first time b0b encountered BBSes, real life meetings of BBS users, the unique experience of using BBSes, the b0badel software (and comparison...
Topics: bbs, documentary, b0b, lee, citadel
BBS: The Documentary Archive
movies
eye 2,267
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Interview of Ken Kaplan, Ben Baker, and Ryugen Fisher (That Old Frog)in St. Louis Missouri, January of 2004. Hour 2. Discussion of Fidonet politics, internal issues, triumphs of engineering, influence of Fidonet. Covers calling old ladies by mistake, IFNA, Fidonet Cons, the troubles involved with running it. Shot in the same living room in which Fidonet's main implementation was created, at Ken Kaplan's house. It was during this portion of the interview that Ryugen Fisher (That Old Frog)...
Topics: bbs, bbsdocumentary, interview, ryugen, fisher, ben, baker, ken, kaplan, fidonet
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 2,009
favorite 1
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Interview with Lynn Crumbling for BBS: The Documentary. Conducted on February 29, 2004 in York, Pennsylvania. Covered his early experiences with BBSes, his favorite boards, and influential figures in his early computing life that led him to his current career. Also a discussion about his favorite general computer memories.
Topics: bbs, documentary, crumbling
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 1,918
favorite 1
comment 0
Interview with James Willing, conducted for BBS: The Documentary. Held on January 28, 2004, in Yates Center, Kansas. Willing ran what is definitely one of the first 10 and likely one of the first 5 dial-up bulletin boards, in 1978: CBBS-NW. A resident of the Pacific Northwest when the BBS was run, Willing moved to Yates Center, Kansas, to run a bowling alley, where the interview was conducted. Subjects covered included finding out about CBBS in Chicago, the drive to create his own BBS, phone...
Topics: bbs, documentary, willing
BBS: The Documentary Archive
movies
eye 1,734
favorite 1
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Interview of Ken Kaplan, Ben Baker, and Ryugen Fisher (That Old Frog)in St. Louis Missouri, January of 2004. Hour 3. Discussion of Fidonet politics, internal issues, triumphs of engineering, influence of Fidonet. Covers some parts of the ARC-ZIP battle, as well as why the various interviewees ultimately left the project. Shot in the same living room in which Fidonet's main implementation was created, at Ken Kaplan's house. Slight video stream corruption (2-3 frames) at the beginning of the...
Topics: bbs, bbsdocumentary, interview, ryugen, fisher, ben, baker, ken, kaplan, fidonet
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 1,717
favorite 1
comment 0
Interview with Ted Beatie for BBS: The Documentary. Conducted on February 12, 2002 in Cambridge, MA. Discussions cover both the use of early modems, fitting in the dialing in of BBSes into a student's schedule, comparison to the MIT Zephyr and IRC chat systems, and an extended discussion in the experience of Diversi-dials. This interview was conducted in a highly conversational style, with both interviewer and interviewee talking equally at some times. Ted Beatie has a low-volume voice and as a...
Topic: bbs,documentary,beatie
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 1,716
favorite 1
comment 0
Interview with Loren Jones, conducted on January 25th, 2004. Subjects covered mostly surrounded the RBBS BBS program, the figures involved, and the project management involved in the RBBS program. Concerns of early PC BBS ownership are discussed as well as the social events and friendships that could occur. Mr. Jones also discusses the process of making "RBBS in a Box", the all-in-one RBBS CD-ROM createdin the early 1990s. Mr. Jones coughs occasionally during the interview due to a...
Topics: bbs, documentary, jones
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 1,492
favorite 1
comment 0
Interview with Milky Puppy and Liz, BBS users, in Toronto, Ontario on May 25, 2002. Subjects covered included early BBS use in Chicago and Toronto, various BBSes run by Milky and their unique themes, the YIP group, BBS Meets, co-sysop and sysop duties, Atari and Macintosh platforms, and points of pride or highlights from BBSes. This interview was conducted towards the beginning of the film cycle, when I had more of a "conversational" style to the interviews, meaning I am a notable...
Topics: bbs, documentary, milky
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 1,462
favorite 0
comment 1
Interview with Ryan Brown (alias Zendo) in Mountain View California, on May 22, 2003. Camera shifts a couple times, trying different angles. Subjects covered include running a BBS at a very young age, getting to know people only online, winning an award for running a BBS, as well as discussions about ANSI art and using various BBS software. Excellent back and forth between interviewer and interviewee.
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Topics: bbs, documentary, brown
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 1,459
favorite 1
comment 0
Interview with Milky Puppy and Liz, BBS users, in Toronto, Ontario on May 25, 2002. Subjects covered included early BBS use in Chicago and Toronto, various BBSes run by Milky and their unique themes, the YIP group, BBS Meets, co-sysop and sysop duties, Atari and Macintosh platforms, and points of pride or highlights from BBSes. This interview was conducted towards the beginning of the film cycle, when I had more of a "conversational" style to the interviews, meaning I am a notable...
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 1,361
favorite 2
comment 0
Interview with Rich Schinnell, conducted on February 29, 2004 in Rockville, Maryland, for the BBS Documentary. The interview centered around early IBM PC-compatible user groups and hardware of the 1982 period, including the early compaqs, IBMs, and the challenges of software and usage of them. Also discussed philosophy of sharing software, profiting from public domain software, tyrranical sysops, and PC-TALK/RBBS. There is one drop-out in the last third of the interview, a one-second loss of...
Topic: bbs,documentary,schinnell
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott
movies
eye 886
favorite 0
comment 0
Recorded as part of the BBS Documentary production, this is a collection of edited clips that were used in some way in the final documentary, now presented in contextual form. This set of clips are unused or barely-used clips that lasted a long time in the editing timeline until being cut during the last rounds. These clips are provided for historical value and have not been checked for accuracy or sourcing. The statements and descriptions of statements were done at the time of editing in 2004...
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott
movies
eye 874
favorite 0
comment 0
Recorded as part of the BBS Documentary production, this is a collection of edited clips that were used in some way in the final documentary, now presented in contextual form. The general theme of the clips are references to FidoNet or FidoNet-related subjects. These clips are provided for historical value and have not been checked for accuracy or sourcing. The statements and descriptions of statements were done at the time of editing in 2004 and should be considered first-draft filenames that...
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
eye 418
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Deth Veggie has been a close friend for over a decade, and his position in the Cult of the Dead Cow came around in the early years of knowing him. Founded in 1985, the group went from textfile-writing to world-wide media mavens to security pundits. Along the way, they found themselves in a great and unique position as "hacker celebrities". As the image grew somewhere out of control, I knew many of the members as friends, and saw both sides of the story. This interview has a unique...
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Mark Grennan
movies
eye 384
favorite 2
comment 0
From the collection of Mark Grennan, this collection of tapes includes presentations and discussions from the International Fidonet Association's 1987 Board Meeting, as well as the 1988 Board Meeting. It also has a number of presentations regarding FidoNet that were held at some Fidonet gatherings.
Topic: FidoNet Tapes
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Midwest Pirates' Guild, Greg Schaefer
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Bootleg
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Gweep.Net Sysops
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Jayne
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Delchi
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Ken Spence and James MacFarlane
BBS: The Documentary Archive
data
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BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Jeff Keegan
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
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When I set out on this whole "BBS Documentary" project, it had been almost a decade since I had touched audiovisual equipment on this scale, and I'd certainly never tried a project as huge and involved as this one. I knew that whoever the first interview was was going to have to basically put up with delays, weird-acting equipment, and my own stumbling attempts to organize a good shot. To that end, I decided that this person should be someone I knew, someone familiar with being...
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: John Madill
BBS: The Documentary Archive
by Jason Scott Sadofsky
movies
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I entirely misjudged how long it would take me to drive to Los Angeles, and by the time I got in, it was very late. It was late enough that Rob Swindell's wife got on the phone when I called in and said it would probably be a good idea for me to sleep somewhere, and not risk crashing the car pushing myself. As it was, I was less than 20 miles from their house at that point, so I went for it. Rob and his wife were very gracious to have me show up so late for an interview, and although the...
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Jay Andrews
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Jack Rickard
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BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Phen
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Daniel O'Leary
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: James and Liz McDaniel
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Ryan de Laplante
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Mustang Software Employees
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Peter Elsner
BBS Documentary Interview: Stephen Jones (SDF Public Access UNIX)
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: PhreakNIC Attendees
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Jon Larimore
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Dennis Cruise
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Phil Becker and Bob Hartman
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Frank Segler (The Freeze)
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Mike Romero
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Robert A. Fowkes
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BBS Documentary Interview: Anne Madison
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Chicago BBS Users Meetup
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Steve Catmull and David W. Terry
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Frank Deignan
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Joe Russack (Dr. Strangelove)
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Jerel Crosland
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BBS Documentary Interview: Thom and Irene Henderson
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Various CACHE Interviewees
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Wayne Bell
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: H2K2 Attendees
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Charles Alton Forsberg date of birth May 6 1944 date of death September 24 2015 Charles Alton "Chuck" Forsberg Chuck Forsberg died on September 24, 2015, in Portland, Oregon. He was 71. Chuck was a man of many accomplishments. He exhibited a multi-faceted persona that friends, family, loved ones and even Chuck would acknowledge, was at times quirky and contradictory. Chuck Forsberg was: An intellectual genius, who always seeded his ideas, accomplishments and creations with a stiff...
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Ward Christensen
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: RaD Man/ACiD
BBS Documentary Interview: Shewolf, Deth Vaggie, Sister Mary Widow
BBS: The Documentary Archive
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BBS Documentary Interview: Leif Bloomquist
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BBS Documentary Interview: Dave McClure David Paul McClure, 64, of Luray, Va. passed away on Thursday, June 30, 2016 at Sentara RMH after a long battle with kidney disease. Dave was born at the San Diego Naval Base on March 9, 1952 and was the son of the late Donald and Alverta McClure. As a navy kid, Dave lived in many locations including Kodiak, AK and Sasebo, Japan. Dave was a 1974 graduate of the University of Iowa and ROTC. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force and flew...
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BBS Documentary Interview: Necromancer (ACiD)